What Refuse & Resist! Has Done
A brief biography: 1987-2001
- R&R! has persistently protested at INS offices and at the Coast
Guard Base in Miami, against the unconscionable forced repatriation of Haitians who are fleeing
torture and/or death.
- R&R! has launched a national campaign to save the life of political
prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, a revolutionary Black journalist and signatory to the R&R!
statement, on death row in Pennsylvania.
- In the midst of the larget mass arrest in U.S. history, R&R! set up the L.A.
Rebellion Support Project to promote amnesty for all of the people arrested
during the rebellion and to uphold the right of people to rebel throughout the
- When rapper Ice-T came under attack by police organizations, R&R! said: ban
killer cops, not "Cop Killer" and demonstrated at Time-Warner against the
- R&R! was an initiator of the FightBack Network with other groups and
individuals who wanted to go on the offensive against the anti-choice forces after
the murder of Dr. Gunn. The Network's first campaign was to organize nationally
to stop Operation Rescue when they attacked clinics in seven cities in the summer
- R&R! went to the churches where anti-choice groups meet to make the point that
they should not be allowed to plan in peace their attacks on women, doctors and
clinics. During the Democratic National Convention in 1992, R&R! kept Operation
Rescue out of a meeting in New York City, and R&R! has exposed and shut down
these meetings in other cities since then.
- R&R! was in the frontlines of the battle to defend abortion clinics in Buffalo
in spring 1992, and had a strong hand in the resounding defeat of Operation
- In January of 1992 R&R! co-sponsored the first opposition to the yearly "Right
to Life" march held in Washington D.C. on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade
- To deride the NEA censorship rules, R&R! organized the "Jesse Helms Degenerate
Art Show" and the "New Blasphemy Forum" in New York as vehicles for artists to
express their outrage.
- R&R! member Jeff Paterson was the first U.S. Marine to refuse orders to go to
the Persian Gulf.
- It was the Supreme Court case of R&R! member Shawn Eichman that defeated the
federal compulsory patriotism (anti-flag burning) law.
- R&R! activists disrupted two sessions of the U.S. Supreme Court, the first time
this has ever happened, to protest the reactionary Webster and Rust v. Sullivan
decisions on abortion. We also occupied the offices of Representative Henry Hyde
and the National Right to Life Committee.
- R&R! activists in San Francisco joined in seizing vacant apartments in
government housing projects and opening them up to the homeless.
- R&R! organized the first National Conference Against the War on Drugs, and
published a popular brochure exposing the war on drugs as actually being a war on
the oppressed. R&R! also exposed the concentration camps for youth ("boot camps")
being set up in many states.
- R&R! issued the national warning about the Government's true purpose regarding
the 1990 Census, which is to keep tabs on everyone, especially the
"undesirables." We also organized the public burning of census forms around the
- R&R! co-sponsored the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay
Rights, and has joined in protests against homophobia across the country.
- R&R! exposed the fact that (anti-abortion organization) Operation Rescue was using offices of the Right-Wing groups
English First, U.S. Border Control and the Handgun Owners of America to process
- R&R! was the leading force in many areas in starting the direct defense of
women's clinics from attacks by Operation Rescue, aggravating O.R. to the point
where they called a national press conference to attack R&R!
- It was R&R! that launched the most popular slogan of the defense of women's
reproductive rights: "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology."
- R&R! reinstituted the wearing of the blue triangle symbol, which had been the
Nazi symbol "stateless" people were forced to wear, to demonstrate solidarity
with the tens of thousands of "stateless" people being held in INS concentration
- R&R! activists exposed, and were arrested after climbing over the fences of, hidden INS detention camps in Texas.
- In 1988 R&R! organized "Resist in Concert!" featuring dozens of progressive
artists from rap, reggae, folk, rock and other genres, with Sinead O'Connor
headlining. At this event we presented the first national Courageous Resister
Awards to individuals who "just said no." Presenters included Susan Sarandon,
Robbie Conal and Philip Agee.
- Since the first presentation, R&R! has awarded Courageous Resisters such as Karen Finley, Margot Kidder, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the survivors of the St. John's University Rape.
- In the summer of 1995, R&R! initiated "Philly Freedom Summer" -- bringing together youthful activists from across the country to organize support for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in the streets of Philadelphia.
- All through the summer of 1995, R&R! was in the forefront of the battle to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal - whose death warrant was signed in June by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. A temporary stay was finally issued just days before the August 17 execution date. Mumia is still on death row, FREE MUMIA!
- In 1996, R&R! inititiated the first National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, which has evolved into a popular annual occasion to honor providers in cities and towns across the country every March 10.
- Also in 1996, R&R! helped initiate the first National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation on October 22. We have been organizational sponsors of each October 22 protest since. On October 22 -- Wear Black!
- September 1997 - R&R! presented a Courageous Resister Award to Magalie Laurent, a nurse at Coney Island Hospital who blew the whistle on the cops who savagely attacked Abner Louima inside a Brooklyn police station.
- June 1999 - R&R! presented a Courageous Resister Awards to Emily Lyons, critically injured in a bombing attack on the abortion clininc where she was a nurse; Adrienne Rich, who refused to receive a National Medal of the Arts "while the people at large are so dishonored" by "wealth and power in America"; and Iris Baez, whose son was murdered by New York City police during a street football game, and who has become an outspoken organizer against police repression and national leader of the October 22 Coalition.
- November 2000 - R&R! presented a Courageous Resister Award to Dr. James Pendergraft, an African-American abortion provider in Florida who was singled out for criminal persecution by the government and who has been sentenced to prison for his unwavering stand in defense of reproductive choice.
- December 2000 - Refuse & Resist! and the October 22 Coalition presented a Courageous Resister Award to Nicholas Heyward, Sr., whose son was murdered by New York City police and who has been an outspoken activist in the movement against police brutality in the U.S.
- In 2001 - R&R! Youth Network activists gathered for the sixth annual Philly Freedom Summer; Reproductive Freedom Task Force activists helped organize to defend abortion clinics under attack in Wichita, Kansas; founding member C. Clark Kissinger was released from federal prison after a six-month sentence for making a speech in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal; and the Artists' Network of Refuse & Resist! launched their own web site.
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